Dragons in D&D 4e used to be weak, and were easy for my party to defeat. Solos were rarely much of a challenge, or so it was before Monsters Vault showed up with the new/updated Dragons. They are now finally strong, powerful, fearsome solo monsters.
I'm DMing a campaign in the Forgotten Realms setting and I want to use Dragons. The thing is, to make Dragons powerful and scary, when I use them I actually try to kill my players' characters and don't hold back. I attack them from an open sky, grab someone and fly high only to drop a player and cause tons of damage, burn the forest they were trying to cross and stuff like that.
Yesterday my friends wanted to play a Paragon level one-shot. They were all level 18 characters and the final battle was against a black dragon plus 4 soldier monster, all level 18. In the end, I killed them all. They still had fun. They all went home saying: "Wow, Dragons really are powerful again" and things like that, but it all made me worried.
Obviously, I cannot use Dragons the same way I used to because, now that Dragons are strong, I will end up by killing everybody easily. So, how can I have the characters fight a Dragon in a way that will still make the fight dangerous and hard, but which will give the players a fair chance of success? White Dragons like to fight with their claws and fight to the death but what about the rest?